Review: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor


Anthony laughed. “You bring in what you put out. Lagos …” He patted Agu and Adaora on the shoulders and dropped into Pidgin English. “‘Lasgidi’ you dey call am, right? Eko? Isn’t that what you people call Lagos? Place of belle-sweet, gidi gidi, kata kata, isu, and wahala. Lagos is energy. It never stops.

Lagoon is Nnedi Okorafor’s first science fiction novel, written in an entirely Nnedi Okorafor-esque way—it’s a first contact story of aliens landing on Earth, written in the context of collision of modernity and change with tradition, folklore, and mythology.

In the middle of the night, an alien ship lands in the lagoon outside the city of Lagos. These aliens don’t just bring with them the promise of change—they are change. Thousands of Lagosians witness or are a part of this change, from the people on the street, to the members of the church, to the military, to regular creatures, to strange creatures, to the gods of old. The city explodes as a result of this change. Nothing will ever be the same. And leading the way is Adaora, a marine biologist; Agu; a soldier; and Anthony Dey Craze, a famous Ghanaian rapper, the first three people to witness the aliens’ arrival and the first to be changed by it.

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